To me, Canteen is a family. A place where I can be my real self. There is no judgment, no pity, no pressure. When I go to meetings or programs for Canteen I get a lot out of it as I know I am safe to be me, I know that I will be taught something new or learn something different and that in some way I will be making a change, helping out and giving back.
I joined in 2012 when my Father was diagnosed with a rare lymphoma. After he passed away in 2014, I was in my second year of my degree, Canteen helped me through the hardest part of my life. I completed my bachelor of Agricultural science with honours in 2016 and am now studying my PhD in the science of cider as the recipient of a Westpac bicentennial foundation Future leaders Scholarship. I don’t think this would have been possible without the love and support I received from Canteen.
Canteen has given me the opportunity to engage in leadership, in 2016 I joined the local leadership team in Tasmania. In 2017 I became the Chair as well as a Peer Mentor and Youth Ambassador. Through the leadership training in Canteen I have become a more confident and mindful person. I am grateful to be part of my local leadership team and the board as my way of giving back to an organisation that helped me during the hardest part of my life as it does for so many others.
If there was anything to come of my loving and wonderful father dying of cancer before he was 50 would be that it gave me the opportunity to become a part of Canteen.
I am excited to be part of Canteen’s future and to shape and share my journey with others.